Reporting Michael Rosenfield
EXETER, N.H. (CBS) — Spraying in Exeter, New Hampshire started Tuesday morning near Brickyard Pond and the fields across the street after a batch of mosquitoes found nearby tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).
New Hampshire health officials say the batch of mosquitoes which tested positive for the EEE virus is the first positive case this year.
This is in addition to the six batches of mosquitoes that have tested positive for West Nile Virus in New Hampshire this season.
The situation has led Exeter School officials to spray near four of their schools with classes starting next week and to take other measures.
“It’s always a concern,” said SAU 16 Superintendent Michael Morgan. “At Exeter High School we had two Friday night football games we’ve already moved to Saturday to make sure we’re taking precautions.”
At a nearby playground Danielle Tobey and Tekara Stevens say they are doing their best to keep their kids safe.
“We try to use extra DEET if we go out at night when the mosquitoes are out, try to avoid them as much as possible,” said Tobey.
Health officials are urging people to take precautions.
Among the recommendations, the state is asking people to remove standing water where mosquitoes breed, wear long sleeves, long pants and a hat between dusk and dawn when outside, and to use insect repellant with 30% or less DEET.
EEE and West Nile Virus are transmitted by a bite from an infected mosquito.
“This is the first identified positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis in New Hampshire this season, but unfortunately it is not unexpected,” said Public Health Director Dr. José Montero in a statement. “These two viruses tend to appear in waves and some years there are more positives than others so we don’t really know what the rest of the season has in store. This is all the more reason why people should take precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes.”
According to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, symptoms of West Nile Virus disease often appear 4 to 10 days after being bitten.
EEE is a more serious disease that carries a high mortality rate for those who contract the serious encephalitis form of the illness. Symptoms may include high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, and sore throat. There is no treatment for the disease, which can lead to seizures and coma.
“To think that a mosquito could cause a lot of damage to my daughter or any child is really, really scary,” said Stevens at the playground Tuesday.
For more information about EEE and West Nile Virus visit the DHHS website at and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
For questions contact the DHHS Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at 603-271-4496.